Mine hazards and risk control

The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 include duties for all mine operators to identify mining hazards and assess, eliminate or control risks.

Read the Regulations

The duties referred to in this guidance are contained in Part 5.3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations).

You must read the legislation in addition to this guidance.

Identifying hazards and assessing risk

Mine operators must identify all mining hazards and assess associated risks, taking into account the things listed in regulation 404(2) of the OHS Regulations.

Mine operators must, so far as is reasonably practicable, eliminate the risks associated with mining hazards. If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate a risk, you must reduce the risk by:

  • substituting the hazardous activity with a new activity, procedure, plant, process or substance, or
  • isolating persons from the mining hazard, or
  • using engineering controls, or
  • using a combination of the above risk control measures

If a risk still remains, you must reduce the risk by using administrative controls.

If a risk still remains after implementing a combination of controls including administrative controls, you must reduce the risk by providing appropriate personal protective equipment to the persons at risk.

The hierarchy of control

Use the hierarchy of control to eliminate or reduce risks at work

Reviewing and revising risk control measures

At least once every three years, mine operators must review and revise:

  • the identification of mining hazards
  • the risk assessment, and
  • the risk control measures in place

Such a review must also be conducted:

  • before any mine modification
  • after an incident occurs that involves a mining hazard
  • if, as a result of a health monitoring report, you remove or reassign an employee
  • if you receive a request to do so from a Health and Safety Representative (HSR)

All mine operators should complete a safety assessment

We recommend you follow the steps in our guidance on Safety assessments.

Safety assessment guidance is written for operators of prescribed mines to manage the risks of major mining hazards, however, its steps can be followed by all mine operators to identify mining hazards, and assess and implement risk control measures.

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